Funk

In addition to several books on gardening* I have six books checked out and I recently returned two without reading more than a page. I am in a serious reading funk. Nothing intrigues me. Nothing catches my fancy.  Not even in audio book form, which is highly unusual.

First, the two audio books I returned after putting in a serious effort and still couldn’t connect…

image

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown was on several best of 2016 lists. I so wanted to like it! I tried the audio version first, but strangely that didn’t hook me. I tried reading it and I’d read a page and get distracted by something, then read another page, decide I was hungry, read another page and so on and so on. I renewed it the maximum amount of times and was still only a quarter of the way through. So I gave up. I do really like the illustrations. I think those were the best part.

image

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld also got rave reviews, and I’m usually a sucker for a Pride and Prejudice rewrite. This one just felt off to me though. For one thing, I couldn’t get over Lizzy being called Liz. She’s a grown woman, call her Elizabeth. If you must give her a nickname, keep Lizzy since that’s what Jane Austen used. The odd thing is, many of my friends call me Liz and I don’t care. Maybe this is one I should try reading as well. I didn’t care for the narrator. I do like the idea of Bingley being on a Bachelor style show.

image

I’ve been carrying around Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton for a while now, but I can’t seem to get past the first few pages. Way too many new town names, creature names, food and activity names etc etc. This is why I, I decided, I struggle so much with fantasy and sci fi. Too much new information! I get bogged down and can’t get into the story. I really want to use this this book for the Popsugar Reading Challnge though, so I might try and power through though. Gotta leave my phone and the distracting Twitter feed at home though. Or in another room.

image

I also have Josephine : the dazzling life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell checked out, and I love the illustrations (Christian Robinson), but I’m not feeling the story in verse. However, she does seem like a fascinating woman and I want to learn more.

image

As a children’s librarian, I should read all the popular series or at least be familiar with them. I’m usually pretty good at this, but one series I can not get myself to care about is Erin Hunter’s Warriors series. Originally I thought it’s because I don’t like cats, but she has a few more series about dogs bears, and I’m still not interested. I can’t quite pinpoint why, since I enjoyed the one Redwall book I read. So it’s not necessarily the talking animals that gets me… Anyway, I want to try! So I have the first in one of the cat series (Warriors: A Vision of Shadows) at home, but I have yet to pick it up.

*I really want to have a successful veggie garden this year, and my husband and I seriously need to update our landscaping, but are complete novices. So, if you have any resources for native plants and veggie gardens in Minnesota, please let me know!

Worth Reading: Round 3

As you know, we are living in contentious times. Marches and protests abound, as do accusations of fake news. How does the library fit into this world?

Teen Librarian Toolbox tweeted several suggestions, all of which are posted here. Included are purchase diverse books and create source analysis documents for users.

—–

The University of Minnesota put together an immigration syllabus that “seeks to provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship.”

—–

I created a book review article for our county’s local paper about immigration stories, ranging from current Somali and Hmong immigrant/refugee stories to the Swedish immigration stories of the 1800s. Encouraging our users to read outside of their comfort zone is important.

—–

Many organizations have crafted infographics detailing how to tell if a news source is accurate, biased or fake. IFLA has a nice blog post summarizing the issue and including some resources for libraries.

Just Okay

Maybe it’s my  mood, or maybe my book picker is off, but the last three books I read are only so-so. One plus? I got to check of three of the Popsugar 2017 categories.

image

I was so excited to start The Kitchens of the Great Midwest  by J. Ryan Stradal, and I really enjoyed the first few chapters about Lars. Then it got boring. Firstly, the hugely pronounced Minnesota accents on all male characters got old real fast. Secondly, I found that I did not care for any of the characters once Lars’s story ended. I am, however, interested in making some of the recipes included in the novel. Particularly the peanut butter bars.

Popsugar: A book about food

image

My next book was That Summer by Lauren Willig. I started it on the plane and while it wasn’t great, it definitely hooked me. I know Willig isn’t the greatest writer, but there’s something about her style that get’s me sucked in right away. The middle of the story was great, but the ending really disappointed me. I felt the historical story had way too many open ended questions and the modern story wrapped up too neatly. I suppose if it had kept on the way the middle went, it would be an overly long novel, but I felt a bit cheated out of answers.

Popsugar: A book with one of the four seasons in the title

image

Lastly, I started (and finished) Taylor Reid Jenkin’s Maybe in Another Life while on the return flight. I did not like this one nearly as much as After I Do. I think it’s because I did not particularly care for Hannah or her best friend Gabby. I felt like so much time was spent setting up the two various stories (it’s all about how one decision can affect a person’s life), that we never really understood the various characters and their motivations. I was obviously invested enough that I read the book

Popsugar: A book that is a story within a story

Family Storytime: Dinosaurs

Opening Song

Book:

image

Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin

Action Rhyme:

“Five Funny Dinosaurs”

Five funny dinosaurs letting out a roar.

One went away, and then there were four.

Four funny dinosaurs munching on a tree

One went away, and then there were three.

Three funny dinosaurs didn’t know what to do

One went away, and then there were two.

Two funny dinosaurs, having lots of fun

One went away, and then there was one.

One funny dinosaur having no fun.

He went away, and then there none.

 

Book:

image

Tea Rex by Molly Idle

 

Action Rhyme:

“Dinosaur, Dinosaur”

Dinosaur, dinosaur, turn around

Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch the ground

Dinosaur, dinosaur, reach up high

Dinosaur, dinosaur, wink one eye

Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your nose

Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your toes

Dinosaur, dinosaur, slap your knees

Dinosaur, dinosaur, sit down please.

Book:

image

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? By Jane Yolen

Action Rhyme:

“Dinosaurs”

Spread your arms, way out wide

Fly like Pteranodon, soar and glide.

Bend to the floor, head down low,

Move like a Stegosaurus, long ago.

Reach up tall, try to be

As tall as Apatosaurus eating on a tree.

Using your claws, grumble and growl

Just like a tyrannosaurus on the prowl.

 

Activity:

Simon Says, Dinosaur edition


Closing Song

Mock Caldecott

I attended my very first Mock Caldecott discussion on the 8th (this really delayed, I know). Fortunately, I’d read most of the titles in my rush to read all the Goodreads best of picture books, and in my perusal of other “best of” lists. It’s interesting, however, to note that the actual winner (and only one of the four official honor books was included) was not discussed at all in our meeting. The titles discussed are as follows:

Medal winner: Erin E. Stead for The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas

Honor: Brendan Wenzel for The All Saw a Cat

Honor: Beth Krommes for Before Morning by Joyce Sidman

Honor: Nick Wroblewski for Wake Up, Island by Mary Casanova

Honor: Yuyi Morales for Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

Honor: Christian Robinson for School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

Tessa Blackham for Monday is Wash Day by Maryann Sundby

The Fan Brothers for The Midnight Gardner

Dan Santant for Are we There Yet?

Evan Turk for The Storyteller

While I don’t agree with the winner (I liked Before Morning and School’s First Day of School) much more, the process was fascinating! We each voted for four titles, with a weighted vote (our first choice gets more points etc), so there’s less of a chance for ties. We also discussed in great detail, the gutters, continuity (in School’s First Day of School a little girl draws a picture and on the next page, when it is hung up on the teacher’s bulletin board, the sun has changed locations), and whitespace. Many things I have to admit, I had not looked at before.

Hopefully next year, I can also participate in the Mock Newbery! I hope to be more on top of things this year, read the books as they come out.